For Tesla, setbacks in overturning the status quo


Elon Musk sure knows how to craft a cliffhanger.

The Tesla Motors chief executive kicked off October with a tweet filled with innuendo and intrigue—”About time to unveil the D and something else,” he wrote—that set off a frenzy of speculation and climaxed nine days later with the electric automaker’s splashy reveal of a dual-motor, autopilot-enabled Model S, its four-door sedan.

Owner forums buzzed. Social media sang. The blogosphere chirped. Tesla’s souped-up Model S was the car of the moment—and Musk confirmed, once again, that he had no intention of running Tesla like any old automaker.

Since that day, it’s been a rough patch of road for the company [fortune-stock symbol=”TSLA”] as its unorthodox practices collided with the auto industry’s status quo. A week after Musk’s announcement, Tesla was unexpectedly hit with legislation that threatened its ability to sell cars directly to consumers in Michigan, a state with 56…

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